Department of Agriculture - Federal Departments

Year Founded:
$134B / year
Employee Expense:
$6.27B in 2015

The Federal Government is broken down into fifteen departments, each of which consists of a number of sub-departments and organizational groups tasked with accomplishing the Department's overall goals.

The United States Department of Agriculture it tasked with meeting the farming, agriculture, and forestry needs of the nation. USDAs primary goal is to promote agricultural trade and production and assure that the food supply is safe and natural resources are not plundered. The USDA collects detailed statistics about agricultural production and uses that information to form the policies necessary to ensure agricultural prosperity. Strong agriculture can have a profoundly positive impact on even the most industrialized nations and can help to reduce hunger at home and abroad.

Who does the Department of Agriculture hire?

The USDA hires Civil Engineers, Biologists, Chemists, forestry experts, and those with experience in the agricultural sectors. Much of the USDAs work involves analyzing the current state of agriculture and developing, enacting, and implementing policy to correct problems. Accordingly the USDA hires a large breadth of different positions in order to meet these goals.

In 2015, the most common occupation employed by the Department of Agriculture was Forestry Technician at 15,291 employees. The second largest occupation was Soil Conservation with 4,169 employees.

The USDA is based near our nations capital in Alexandria, Virginia but has most of its offices spread across the nation. Because much of the USDAs work is dealing with farming, many of the Departments offices are in states with significant rural population including Montana, Kentucky, Iowa, and Idaho.

History of the Department of Agriculture

In 1839, congress established the Agriculture Division as a small agency within the Patent Office which itself is a subdivision of the State Department. The Agriculture Division was tasked with collecting new and improved seeds and reporting agricultural statistics. Agriculture was extremely important to the young growing nation. Over the next 20 years the Agriculture Division grew rapidly in size and scope. The Agriculture Division was transferred to the Department of the Interior before becoming its own department. On May 15, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln established the independent Department of Agriculture.

One of the USDAs main responsibilities quickly became to provide loans to new and existing farms across the country. These loans helped to establish new farms in the central and westerns states which helped to promote the U.S.'s expansion west. Since the Department began giving loans, the system has been hampered with charges of discriminatory loaning practices. These problems have persisted into recent times.

In 1997 black farmers across the country filed a class action lawsuit against USDA. The farms won the case in 1999 but continued to struggle to receive restitution. In 2007, then Senator Barack Obama cosponsored a bill to ensure black farmers received what they were owed. In 2010, President Obama signed into law a variation of that bill that guaranteed $1.15 billion to resolve the outstanding debts owed to the farmers. Today the USDA has a wide range of responsibilities including providing foreign agricultural aid, inspecting produce, and setting standards of fair farming practices and food quality.

Average Pay of an Employee in the Department of Agriculture

Year Average Pay
2004 $68247.74
2005 $70701.20
2006 $73902.55
2007 $77090.28
2008 $81313.91
2009 $84605.32
2010 $84807.87
2011 $85426.59
2012 $86506.65
2013 $88119.12
2014 $89690.87
2015 $91057.63

Agencies in the Department of Agriculture (2015)

Agency Employee Count Total Salary Expense Average Pay
Forest Service 38,055 $2.09B $54,991
Natural Resources Conservation Service 10,387 $721.15M $69,468
Food Safety and Inspection Service 9,599 $605.54M $63,096
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 8,324 $537.78M $66,880
Agricultural Research Service 7,679 $529.85M $70,068
Rural Housing Service 4,643 $325.8M $70,216
Farm Service Agency 4,215 $333.99M $79,257
Agricultural Marketing Service 3,547 $191.68M $54,086
Office of the Chief Financial Officer (Department of Agriculture) 1,582 $123.57M $78,159
Food and Nutrition Service 1,494 $140.46M $94,019
National Agricultural Statistics Service 1,010 $83.72M $83,051
Office of the Chief Information Officer (Department of Agriculture) 1,005 $96.54M $96,058
Foreign Agricultural Service 859 $92.33M $107,615
Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration 761 $48.18M $63,312
Office of the Inspector General (Department of Agriculture) 502 $48.91M $97,816
Risk Management Agency 471 $43.36M $92,064
National Institute of Food & Agriculture 416 $43.09M $103,576
Departmental Administration 416 $39.47M $95,334
Economic Research Service 358 $38.49M $107,813
Office of the General Counsel (Department of Agriculture) 273 $32.4M $118,670
Rural Utilities Service 261 $26.51M $101,976
Civil Rights 135 $13.5M $99,967
Office of the Secretary of Agriculture 115 $12.87M $113,914
Rural Business-Cooperative Service 99 $9.76M $98,605
National Appeals Division 79 $7.76M $98,248
Office of Communications (Department of Agriculture) 72 $7.08M $99,752
Homeland Security Staff 60 $6.7M $111,737
Office of the Chief Economist 49 $6.22M $126,903
Office of Advocacy and Outreach 44 $4.47M $101,581
Office of Budget and Program Analysis 40 $4.99M $124,719
Office of the Executive Secretariat 17 $1.36M $79,837

Data Sources

The information provided on these pages is sourced from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) dataset. Postal Service data is managed exclusively by the USPS . All information is displayed unmodified and as provided by the source agency.

Federal employee salaries are public information under open government laws (5 U.S.C. § 552). FederalPay provides this data in the interest of government transparency — employee data may not be used for commercial soliciting or vending of any kind. Learn more about the FederalPay Employees Dataset here.

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